GB Railfreight Launches New Service From Birch Coppice To Felixstowe

GB Railfreight were this week delighted to launch their new intermodal service from Birch Coppice to Felixstowe. The move demonstrates the sustained growth of GBRf as a business, with the launch marking its 5th new intermodal service in the past 18 months and 2nd service into the Birch Coppice terminal.

The Maritime Transport liveried locomotive left Birch Coppice at 14.14 on Tuesday 22nd January, arriving at Felixstowe at 20.14 the same day, passing through Hams Hall, Leicester, Peterborough and Ipswich along the way. Made up of 33 platforms, the service will transport a mixture of intermodal boxes, and will initially run 5 days a week. The move marks the continued expansion of GBRf’s intermodal offering, numbering its 13th intermodal service to date.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight said:

“We’re thrilled to be putting on this new service, which will be running on a daily basis. It is demonstrative of the wider sea change we are seeing in the rail freight industry, as the UK moves from its industrial roots to become a service and consumer- led economy. This is reflected in the fact that intermodal traffic now accounts for approximately 36% of rail freight industry wide.

The route is also practical, with this new Midlands service meaning Birch Coppice can accommodate business that was going to Hams Hall, allowing our client Wincanton additional space for its logistics operation that is centred around the ABP facility.”

GB Railfreight and Class 50 Alliance collaboration sealed with locomotive repaints

UK rail freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRf) and the Class 50 Alliance (C50A) have today announced that mainline registered Class 50 locomotives 50007 Hercules and 50049 Defiance are to be repainted into the latest GBRf livery.

GBRf worked closely with the C50A in enabling a return to the mainline for their locomotives in 2017 and subsequently through a programme of railtours during 2018 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Class 50s.

The decision to repaint the locomotives into the striking new livery is a recognition of the developing relationship between the two organisations and marks a new chapter in the story of the Class 50s.

Over the past two years, GBRf has invested in a programme of driver training to enable Class 50 operation over much of the UK rail network. The company has also operated several railtours using the 50007 and 50049s, including The Caledonian in October 2017, returning class 50s to Glasgow for their 50th anniversary.

The repaints will be carried out by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh. GBRf will fund the repainting and also manage the movement of the locomotives to and from Eastleigh.

The first outing for the GBRf-liveried Class 50s will be on Saturday 23rd March when they will work Pathfinder Tours’ Teminator-Pheonixed railtour from London Paddington to Penzance and return to Waterloo. This train will mark 25 years since the final BR operated Class 50 railtour over the same route, The Terminator, which was also promoted by Pathfinder.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted that GBRf is sponsoring the repainting of 50007, Hercules and 50049, Defiance, into GBRf livery. Our relationship with the class 50 alliance has grown over the years, with the painting of the two locomotives being an excellent way to recognise the fact. Having first witnessed class 50’s at Crewe in the early 1970s, I never thought the day would arise when one would be painted in the livery of GBRf. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the finished article(s).”

Jonathan Dunster, Director Class 50 Alliance said:

“Today’s announcement marks a significant next step in the story of the Class 50s, and we’re delighted to build on our already successful relationship with GBRf.”

“Since we successfully returned Class 50s to the mainline in 1997, we have gained a great deal of experience, working with many stakeholders across the industry. We have operated around 80 railtours, supplied power for timetabled service trains in South Wales and operated numerous freight and route learning duties. For GBRf to cement our relationship in this way is fantastic news and we look forward to working with the team on an exciting future programme, which kicks off in style when we head to Penzance on 23rd March.”

Following the repaints, the locomotives will be available to operate selected GBRf trains on a ‘spot-hire’ basis. This work will include movement of locomotives between heritage railway gala events, and future railtours. The locomotives will continue to be based at the Severn Valley Railway, but will have easy access to the national network, thanks to the 24-hour connection at Kidderminster.

50007 and 50049 will be unveiled in their new livery at a private event at Eastleigh Works, prior to working a test run and then the railtour on 23rd March.

GB Railfreight To Continue Successful Partnership With Liberty British Aluminium

GB Railfreight are today delighted to announce that they will be continuing their successful partnership with Liberty British Aluminium, having agreed to extend their contract for another three years.

The contract will see GBRf class 66 locomotives hauling alumina from North Blyth to Fort William, on a service that will run six days a week. The service enables the delivery of critical supplies to an industry which is not only central to the West Highlands, but the Scottish economy as a whole.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We are delighted to see the extension of this historic relationship between GB Railfreight and Liberty British Aluminium. The move will ensure the continuation of rail freight on the West Highland line.

Our ambition at GBRf is to see an increase in the amount of goods and materials transported via rail freight, taking trucks off the road and benefiting the environment.

Ensuring the delivery of materials to a key Scottish industry also secures employment in the West Highlands, and we are proud of the role GBRf are playing in ensuring the economic prosperity of the area.”

Liberty British Aluminium said:

“We at Liberty are incredibly proud to own and operate the only remaining UK aluminium smelter in Fort William. Our partnership with GB Railfreight is important in maintaining the operation of the smelter and our continued investment and growth; creating jobs in the West Highlands.”

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail, said:

“A competitive, sustainable rail freight sector supports our communities and our economy through a safe, green and efficient way of transporting products and materials.

The Scottish Government welcomes the continued commitment of British Aluminium to rail freight to provide the raw materials for its production. This is another example of the importance of the West Highland Line to the economy, environment and communities of Lochaber.”

About Liberty British Aluminium

Liberty British Aluminium is part of the GFG Alliance, a London-headquartered international group of businesses, founded and owned by the British Gupta Family, with annual revenue of over US$15 billion and around 14,000 staff. It combines energy generation, metal manufacturing, engineering, natural resources and financial services, working together to deliver a common business strategy. The Alliance comprises Liberty – an integrated industrial and metals business – SIMEC – a resources and infrastructure group – Wyelands – a banking and financial services arm JAHAMA Estates – a division that manages and develops the Alliance’s global property holdings – and GFG Foundation which focuses on the retention and creation of engineering and industrial skills.

GB Railfreight Announces New London Gateway- Rotherham Service

GB Railfreight are pleased to announce that on Monday 5th November 2018, it saw the commencement of a new service out of London Gateway into Rotherham, marking the continued expansion of routes covered by GB Railfreight across the country.

The Class 66 locomotive no. 66714 departed from London Gateway at 04.45 on 5th November, arriving at Rotherham at 12:10 on the same day. The export then departed Rotherham at 15.40, with the export load up marking its first commercial service, heading back to London Gateway, arriving at 01:18 the following day.

Made up of 37 platforms, the new service will run 5 times per week on a round trip basis.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We are thrilled the be expanding the routes covered by GB Railfreight to include this new service from Rotherham to London Gateway. Many thanks to our partners the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Newell & Wright (NWT) for helping to make this a possibility.”

Paul Barker, Commercial Director of NWT, said:

“We are delighted to receive this new 5-day service provided by GBRf from London Gateway into our Terminal in Rotherham.

The service is contracted from GBRf between MSC and Newell & Wright, further extending our rail services into Rotherham and providing our existing customer base with a multi-port option for moving containers into the Yorkshire area with onward delivery and other related services.”

Paul Garnham, Head of Intermodal & Head of Logistics at MSC, said:

“MSC in conjunction with GBRf are delighted to be able to offer a new daily rail service from London Gateway to NWT Rotherham. The service commenced operation on Monday 5th November and will run five days a week, Monday through Friday.

MSC has a long-standing relationship with GBRf going back to 2002 when we commenced our very first contract trains into West Yorkshire and the Midlands and we are excited to introduce this new rail service into our rail and road offering that complements our extensive and market leading UK landside coverage.”

GB Railfreight’s charity charter trains raises over £145,000 for amazing causes

Starting on Thursday 20th September, GB Railfreight (GBRf) ran their Second 4-day marathon charity rail tour, raising money for some amazing causes.

The four day charter saw passengers travelling to an array of locations across the UK. On day one, passengers travelled from London Victoria to Bristol and Bridgend, before returning to London Paddington. Day two saw travellers leave London Euston and travel to Wellingborough and Tonbridge before returning to London Waterloo. The weekend was an overnight trip which started at London Waterloo on Saturday, before travelling to Blackpool North, via the Central Belt of Scotland to Fort William before stopping for the night in Glasgow, and returning to London Paddington on Sunday morning

During the tour, 18 locomotives were used and there were a number of firsts. On day one of the tour, the train’s return into London Paddington marked the arrival of the first electric locomotive into the station carrying passengers, the same was true of its entry to Blackpool North on day three of the tour. It is also highly unusual for passenger services to visit Wellingborough and Tonbridge freight yards.

The tour was the brainchild of GBRf Managers Paul Taylor, Dale Williams and Ian Grey. But these tours could not be done without the help of over 50 staff across the GBRf team, including volunteer Train Managers, Guards and an army of stewards and helpers from all parts of the business.

In total the four-day event raised £145,732. This will go towards GBRf’s two chosen charities: Macmillan Cancer Support and Headway.

Macmillan not only helps with the medical needs of people affected by cancer, but also looks at the social, emotional and practical impact cancer can have, and campaigns for better cancer care.

Headway works to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. It was chosen by GBRf following one of its staff members suffering a brain aneurysm in January 2017. GBRf has been supporting these charities since the beginning of 2018 and will continue to do so until the end of this year.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am absolutely thrilled that for a second time, the GBRf team has pulled together such a fantastic schedule of routes and locos to raise money for causes that are very close to GBRf’s heart.
These amazing tours are a testament to the GBRf team, from the office staff, to train crews and planners, who give up their own time to make them happen. I am very proud of the fact that including this charity tour and other fund-raising events GB Railfreight have raised over £155,000 for charity this year, so far”

Paul Taylor, General Manager at GB Railfreight, said:

“We would also like to give special thanks to our suppliers, in particular fellow FOCs Colas and Freightliner and the infrastructure provider Network Rail, who’s kind efforts and contributions make the tour a possibility.”

Hanson Restores Rail Link To Ashton-In-Makerfield With The Help Of GB Railfreight

Hanson has invested £250,000 in restoring the railway siding at its plant in Ashton-in-Makerfield. It is the first time rail freight has been run into the depot for some 10 years, and will see hundreds of lorry journeys taken off the roads each year.

Working in partnership with GB Railfreight, Hanson will run three trains a week from its quarry in Shap, Cumbria down to its site in Ashton. It is expected that over 200,000 tonnes of material will be taken by rail each year along this new route, which saw its first service run on 15th October.

Hanson UK’s regional general manager for the north Simon Day said: “The investment in the site is an important part of our rail strategy. We are working to try to increase the tonnage of aggregates we transport this way across the UK. These three trains a week will take around 1,500 truck journeys off the road each year and mean that we only need to put the material onto road transport for the last 5 – 10 miles rather than the 60 – 80 miles we do now. This will reduce the distances travelled on the road by our truck fleet by around 500,000 miles per year.”

GB Railfreight’s Managing Director John Smith said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Hanson on this new service, which will be using one of GB Railfreight’s recently purchased class 60 locomotives.This partnership is further demonstration of the role freight can play in taking trucks off the road and reducing emissions.”

The material will be used by the company’s asphalt and concrete plants as well as supplying the construction market in the north west of England.

As well as refurbishing the rail track serving the site, money is being spent on upgrading the depot including the installation of a new weighbridge and office facilities.

About Hanson UK
Hanson is the UK’s leading supplier of heavy building materials to the construction industry, employing 3,500 people and producing aggregates (crushed rock, sand and gravel), ready-mixed concrete, asphalt, cement and cement-related materials. Hanson is part of the HeidelbergCement Group, one of the largest building materials manufacturers in the world.

For further information please contact:
Phil Pitt, Hanson communications and marketing
01628 774113

New Review Into Rail An Opportunity For Freight, Says GB Railfreight

GB Railfreight welcomes the government’s announcement of a new rail review yesterday (Thursday 20th September), aimed at considering all parts of the UK’s rail network. This must include, however, the rail freight sector, which plays a pivotal role in the delivery of goods, commodities and building materials around the country.

The turmoil created by the recent timetabling issues experienced by passenger services has also negatively impacted freight services. Open access freight companies have not been issued with a December timetable, meaning Network Rail will be improvising essentially. Additionally, there wasn’t appropriate consultation with rail freight operators before the cancellation of timetables, which has placed a burden on the sector.

GB Railfreight is proud of the role that it plays in increasing the productivity of UK plc, from reducing congestion and lowering air pollution by removing lorries from the roads to supplying companies up and down the country with the materials needed to build houses, lay roads and dig tunnels. Any review into the railways must ensure that this part of the sector is allowed to continue to flourish as it has done since privitisation.

Commenting on the review, John Smith, GB Railfreight’s managing director, said:

“Given the role we play, shifting goods worth billions of pounds per year and helping the UK become more productive and sustainable, rail freight expects to play a central role in the discussions around the railways’ future. If we do not, the government and Network Rail risk undermining all the fantastic work we have done since the mid-90s to create a thriving business.

“More than that, we see this as a vital opportunity to ensure the regulatory landscape is most beneficial to rail freight, putting it on a secure footing to grow new routes, open up new markets, and develop new freight terminals. GB Railfreight will be at the forefront of these conversations, leading the way for the industry, and making sure rail is given its due consideration as a freight transportation option now and well into the future.”

GB Railfreight Runs First Commercial Service To IPort Rail

On Tuesday 18th September, GB Railfreight Class 66 locomotive no. 66752, ‘The Hoosier State’ had the privilege of being the first freight train to arrive at the newly-opened iPort Rail inland port in Rossington, Doncaster.

The fully loaded service began its journey on Tuesday morning, departing from Solent Stevedores at 05:07, before arriving at iPort Rail at 14.33 on Tuesday afternoon, where its intermodal cargo was unloaded. New containers were loaded on, and the train departed at 18:04 back to Southampton, a service that will now run five days a week.

Made up of 36 platforms, the arrival marked a milestone as the first commercial service to arrive at the £14m, 30-acre iPort Rail terminal. This new facility provides a state-of-the-art rail freight hub able to accommodate the UK’s longest trains up to six times a day, six days a week. It currently has storage for 1,500 TEU storage containers, plus room for expansion, with each of the reach stackers on site able to lift up to 115 tonnes. Connected via the South Yorkshire Joint Freight Line direct to the East Coast Main Line and the UK national rail network, it has been designed to meet Channel Tunnel (SACTFF) approved secure facility standards for international movements.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is absolutely thrilled to be the first commercial service to arrive at the newly-opened iPort Rail facility in Doncaster. Its opening marks a great development for the UK freight industry. The fact the loco went from Solent Stevedores to iPort also shows the excellent relationship we have with the team in Southampton. We look forward to seeing these partnerships flourish even more going forward.

More broadly, this new intermodal flow demonstrates that rail freight has a key role to play in delivering goods around the country and is primed to expand should the opportunity arise. Doing so takes lorries off our roads, reduces congestion and lowers air pollution which is a factor in tens of thousands of premature deaths. GBRf will continue to press government on this, and with the new service to and from iPort Rail, we have an outstanding example.”

Steve Freeman, Managing Director of iPort Rail, said:

“This is a very important milestone for iPort Rail, opening up a new logistics route into and out of South Yorkshire and reinforcing our strong working relationship with GBRf.

iPort is the perfect logistics location – very close to the M18 and Doncaster Sheffield Airport and within two hours of Hull and Immingham as well as being around seven hours from the UK’s other major ports. 87% of the UK mainland population is within a four-hour drive time. We’re really proud of the standard of facilities here and our team has been focussing most of all on efficient operations that will give everyone a short turnaround time.

From here we are continuing to build up services to the facility and are looking forward to working closely with GBRf going forward to link iPort Rail with other sea ports and logistics hubs around the country.”

Fiona Robson, Managing Director of Solent Stevedores, said:

“Over the last 12 months we have developed an excellent working partnership with GBRf. We are absolutely thrilled to see them grow their services from our terminal, which is the result of a huge amount of hard work from both teams and testament to the excellent facility we operate – now one of the most efficient of its kind in the UK. We are excited to build on this success with GBRf moving forward.”

About iPort Rail
iPort Rail is a new, 30-acre multimodal rail freight facility in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Developed by pan-European logistics real estate specialists Verdion, it is the UK’s first inland port to be open and operational for ten years. iPort Rail is a state-of-the-art, high volume, secure container site. Connected via the South Yorkshire Joint Freight Line direct to the East Coast Main Line and the UK national rail network, it has been designed to accommodate the UK’s longest trains and meet Channel Tunnel (SACTFF) approved secure facility standards for international movements. It currently has storage for 1,500 TEU storage containers, with each of the two reach stackers on site able to lift up to 115 tonnes.

iPort Rail is part of iPort, the UK’s most advanced multimodal logistics hub, already home to some of the industry’s leading logistics occupiers, including Amazon, CEVA, Fellowes and Lidl.

For further information about iPort Rail or iPort, please contact
Hebe Hamilton: 07921 477 552
Laura Torrance: 07595 276 254

For further information, please visit

About Solent Stevedores
Solent Stevedores operate a 6 acre Intermodal Rail Facility within the Port of Southampton, directly adjacent to the UK’s second largest Container Terminal. A recent £5m investment program undertaken in partnership with Associated British Ports to improve infrastructure and equipment has halved turnaround times, trebled capacity and driven container throughput. Further work is planned in Q1 2019 to lengthen the terminal’s rail sidings to accommodate longer trains and enable two services to be handled simultaneously – further improving capacity.

For further information, please contact
Solent Stevedores
Tom Dynes

For information, please visit

GB Railfreight And The Worshipful Company Of Paviors Christen ‘The Pavior’

GB Railfreight, in partnership with The Worshipful Company of Paviors, is today (14th September) pleased to announce the naming of its new locomotive, The Pavior.

The locomotive, number 66758, was christened at a ceremony at Tarmac’s Harper Lane site in Radlett at 12.30pm this afternoon. The loco is named in honour of The Worshipful Company of Paviors, who were historically responsible for the pavements of the City of London, and over the years have been critical to the development of the craft of paving, road making, general construction and infrastructure. Its modern membership includes the leaders of construction in the UK. The loco will be used across the GBRf business and numerous routes going forward.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said of the naming:

“We have always been proud of our longstanding friendship with The Worshipful Society of Paviors, an organisation of such great history and pageantry. We are delighted that GB Railfreight today becomes part of the Paviors’ rich history with the naming of The Pavior, long may our friendship continue.”

Dyfrig James, The Master of The worshipful Company of Paviors said:

“The Paviors are extremely proud to have a locomotive named after them, it is a very significant moment in our 700-year history and demonstrates the close link with the industry of today. Our sincere thanks to GB Raifreight and its CEO John Smith in particular.”

About the Worshipful Society of Paviors
The Paviors are a City of London Livery Company with records dating back to 1276 but now with aims to promote the craft of paving through outreach programmes and fellowship.

For further information, please visit